Now that hip-hop has cleaned house in the early days of the new year, 2017 is promptly shaping up to be the rap game’s for the taking. That goes for the preceding class of hip-hop’s new school as well.
Up first is New York, where names like Queens-bred rap royalty Nicki Minaj have wiped a clean slate and made peace offerings with label and industry mates alike. A few miles west, however, comes Harlem’s major-league rap veteran Jim Jones, who just inked a deal and cleared the skies of a 13-year rap storm we never imagined would come to pass.
Welcoming Jones to a brand new contract and label, Jay Z’s Roc Nation swooped up the founding member of the Diplomats rap posse in a deal that will cover all slants of pretty much all things Jim Jones. Formerly, bad blood between the Roc Nation founder and Jones had been hotly boiling from over a decade ago, stemming from tension with another Dipset cliquester, Cam’Ron. In one of the industry’s most infamous tit for tats to exist, the men took their dissent to diss tracks, dropping bombs back and forth with Jones’s scorching “Kingdom Done” track and Jay’s war-equipped single “Brooklyn High.”
Unfortunately along the timeline, an eruption in the “We Fly High” rapper and Killa Cam’s relationship occurred as well, keeping the two completely disconnected for nearly a year now. Regardless of any previous hostility, however, Jones has gotten back to business with signing the deal that not only seals a contract, but a treaty for several years worth of fruitless discord with the “Brookyln’s Finest” businessman and rap star.
BET.com chopped it up with Mr. Capo himself on what led to the signing, a future meeting with Jay and where he stands with the Diplomats following his new industry venture.
Walk me through how the idea of signing with Roc Nation even came about.
Well, it was just a regular conversation with a mutual friend of mine. We were just talking about the industry and who had what going on. It went from that to me getting a phone call saying OG Juan wanted to speak to me.
Did you reach out to Jay first or vice versa?
I actually haven't gotten to speak to Jay personally just yet. But he was on the phone when I was in the room. He was going back and forth on the phone with someone else. It was pretty dope — sort of like the mob would do it. But I am looking forward to meeting Jay.
Were there any people who were just like, “Nah. Not a good idea?”
I'm not gonna lie. I mean, I got support from all ends. I was even surprised that no one thought it would be a stupid move. Everybody actually thought that it was one of the smarter moves I could have made in my career and in my life at this point.
As the founding member of Dipset, is there any hope that you’ll focus any new music or even your new brand on restructuring Dipset’s image?
You know I love Dipset. It's Dipset for life. That's a part of me and it's in my bloodstream. I may give it a shot in a few years, but right now I'm trying to focus on Jim Jones and give my all. I want to do something that I don't think I've had the chance to do and show people my full potential. But in the midst of all that, once I find my stride and get back fully re-acclimated with the game, then of course I would love to come back and visit Dipset music and business. I think that would be dope for the culture. But right now, I'm definitely on a Jim Jones mission. I'm trying to get back into the game to the level of playing that I was before I took my hiatus.
Did the decision have more to do with you being ready to bury the hatchet with Jay or is there something in particular that attracts you to Roc Nation?
The whole scheme of things came into play and it all fit. It was an opportunity to bury the hatchet about some old s**t that's been going on for the past umpteen years that really didn't make any sense. But besides that, it was the business factor and how big Roc Nation is and the level of management they have over there. All of the departments and everything they have to offer was the real major decision. If Jay owned it or if Jay didn't own it, if somebody told me I had the opportunity to sit there with Roc Nation — I was going to go sit there with Roc Nation.
Despite what’s going on between you and Cam’ron, did him or Juelz cross your mind before signing?
Well, I actually called Juelz. Me and Juelz spoke about the whole thing. He's totally cool with it and actually told me it was dope. I really didn't care about how Cam felt about it, though. No disrespect. I called Juelz to get his opinion and he said he loved the idea of me to do something like that.
Roc Nation now has managerial rights over your full brand. What transformations can we expect now that you’re aligned with the label?
I'm just getting back heavy into my music, television, fashion and fitness. Just started VL Mobile, which is the equivalent to what Boost Mobile does. It's the same type of company, so we provide phone service and plans and things like that.
(Photo: Johnny Nunez/WireImage)